• Jeanine Mewburn

Who wants to talk?

Updated: Jul 25, 2020

Is it true that the swelling in my arm is lymphoedema? Is it true that it is chronic?

Lymphoedema is difficult to accept, particularly following cancer treatment. You have survived cancer and its treatment, and now you have this unexpected swelling. The news is shocking. Often, feelings of anger, grief, disbelief are overwhelming and you don't know what to do about it. You may have many yet unanswered questions such as how do other people cope with this dreadful condition? What do I wear and still look pretty, professional or fashionable? How do I accommodate this swelling at night and still be attractive to my partner? How do I sleep? How do I hide this garment when in public? Whom should I talk to? There is an endless list of questions. Just thinking about it is exhausting.

You are not alone in this situation and you may find it comforting to be able to talk about it with someone who went through this gauntlet. Supports groups are popping out all around Brisbane where you can meet people experiencing the same symptoms as you, such as swelling, heaviness, pain, loss of range of movement, and the associated psychological impact lymphoedema has on their life. These groups exist to support you through your journey and help you to move on and improve your quality of life. Often guest speakers attend those gatherings. This adds a valuable element to the discussion where, without commitment, you can ask questions to health professionals such as doctors, massage therapists, occupational therapists, dietitians or others.

Of course, starting a treatment program as soon as possible is important to reduce the impact that lymphoedema has on your life. Talking and sharing your thoughts with other people is also paramount. By joining a support group, you would be able to enjoy a cup of tea in a lovely environment, meet interesting people, make friends, relax and share your thoughts with like-minded people. I can help you with this because the Lymphoedema Association of Queensland has published a list of support group meetings and here is the link Should the link not work, please copy and paste it in your browser.

Should you need more information about how to deal with lymphoedema or book an appointment for lymphatic drainage massage or garment fitting, you can contact me on my website.

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